Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The death sentence

Some people are unlucky to live long enough to suffer all the tragedy that life can hold. 'A life sans health is not really worth living', I often hear this from my patients.

I was notified about the arrival of this patient as soon as the ambulance started from his home. The hospital staff knew him as a regular inpatient. Everyone knew that he had suffered enough. His relatives were convinced that only death could save him. He had presented now with a failing heart. His medical history revealed too long a list of ailments that a mortal can suffer. Yet I found it hard to keep him at the emergency room and do nothing, watch him die. He was gasping, loud. Someone else within me walked towards his son and said, "his condition is bad, and I know your situation; but I can't let him stay here and await his death. I am taking him to the I.C.U". After thinking for a moment, he said in a depressed tone, " do whatever is needed". He returned to his mother, an old lady with a mask like face.

All the life saving procedures were done as per protocol, and he improved. By dawn he was stable. Before signing off my duty hours, I enquired the I.C.U staff about his status. The news, that he was coping well, did not gift me the satisfaction that I normally get when I hear that someone was saved. Did I err by extending his period of suffering on earth? He lived, to die another day.

(Image credit: Blaklyon)

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